BERWICK – Pittston Area was unable to protect either its passers or its punter from Berwick’s relentless pressure Friday night.
The Bulldogs showed off a defensive style that has allowed them to open the season with consecutive shutouts, throwing the Patriots for 74 yards in losses and blocking a punt for a safety on the way to a 38-0 rout in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A Division game at Crispin Field.
Berwick used its rushes of the quarterbacks and punter to take over the field position battle.
After not getting any closer than the Pittston Area 49 during three possessions in a scoreless first quarter that produced just two Berwick first downs, the Bulldogs started five out of seven drives in Patriots territory during one stretch.
Berwick dropped Pittston Area to 1-1 by scoring 22 points in the second quarter and 16 more in the third, sending the game into the Mercy Rule with 4:40 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs turned a scoreless game into the 38-0 margin by packing five touchdowns, a field goal and a safety into a stretch of 18:52.
The scoring onslaught actually started after Pittston Area’s best opportunity of the game.
Mike Coe’s 49-yard punt and two penalties pushed the Bulldogs back, leading to a fumbled snap on a second-and-19. Coe recovered at the Berwick 19 with 1:59 left in the first quarter.
The Patriots, who did not get inside the Bulldogs 40 in the final three quarters, got as close as the 15 before a third-and-four shot gun snap got away for an eight-yard loss on the final play of the first quarter.
Berwick followed that up with Dallas Schecterly and Mason Laubach, the leaders of the pass rush, combining on a sack for 15 yards to open the second quarter.
Two plays later, the Bulldogs were off and running.
Alex Force, who also ran for three touchdowns, hit Justin Robbins deep down the right side for 52 yards, then found Blake Maurer for a 10-yard touchdown.
Another bad snap, this one on a punt, led to a kick that did not even reach the line of scrimmage. The Bulldogs took over at the 16 and again scored in two plays on Teagan Wilk’s 12-yard run.
Force’s 51-yard run set up his own touchdown and the Bulldogs added a field goal on the final play of the second quarter for a 22-0 halftime lead.
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